By Michelle Graff
michelle.graff@nationaljeweler.com
After getting my bearings at the Vicenzaoro "First" show on Saturday (and sitting in on a trend seminar held by research consultancy TJF Group--more on their 2010 trend forecast to come), I spent the next day taking a closer look at the latest design offerings from the Italian brands.

By the end of the day, I found myself super impressed by three companies in particular. What I find interesting about the pieces that caught my eye is how varied they are in design. The latest pieces from two of the companies are quite technically innovative (and, it also helps that they're just plain lovely to look at), while those of the third fall at the other end of the design spectrum, striking me with their handcrafted nature and simple beauty.

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Above left and right: Ring and bracelet in white gold with diamonds by Mattia Cielo, MattiaCielo.com

New from Mattia Cielo, this ring and bracelet (above)--from a yet-to-be-named collection--are crafted in white gold with diamonds, and the cool thing about them is that they feature what designer Mattia described as an "easy-fit spring." It's basically an elastic stainless steel spring that allows the ring and bracelet--which wrap all the way around the finger and wrist, respectively--to seamlessly open and close in the smoothest of motions.

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Above left: Ring with ruby and baguette diamonds, Above right: Ring with diamonds, both from Staurino Fratelli, StaurinoFratelli.com

Meanwhile, over at Staurino Fratelli, the brand exhibited new pieces from its popular "Magic Snake" collection, including this diamond and ruby stunner (above left). Moveable hinges allow the pieces to shift in accordance to the bending of one's finger, as seen above right.


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Above left: Hoop earrings in ebony with rose gold; Above right: Necklace in ebony with rubber rings and diamond detail, both from Raffaella Mannelli, RaffaellaMannelli.com

Taking a 180-degree turn, another of my favorites was designer Raffaella Mannelli. Rafaella handcrafts oversized statement pieces from boxtree wood and ebony. I love the organic nature and geometric themes of her handcarved designs, as well as the tiny luxe dashes she adds in, like the miniature rose gold stamp on these hoop earrings (above left), and the diamond detail on this necklace (above right). As the designer described her inspiration: "Nature is never regular, it's never perfect, and these are the sort of shapes I like."


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